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Bania Ruins: A Historical Escapade

If you ever plan a tour to the Dooars, do not forget to put Bania Ruins of Jalpaiguri in your itinerary. These remnants of an ancient fort beside a big lake speak of a bygone age. It is believed that ‘Nala Raja’ of Hindu mythology used to dwell here and hence the fort is known as ‘Nala Rajar Ghar (the home of Nala Raja). The ruins have given the place a historical and archaeological might of its own. A tour package to Chilapata Reserve Forests should include this destination without failing. The Bania Ruins are perhaps the oldest part of Dooars that rest on the bank of River Bania. Apart from the mythological angle, the origin of the ruins is also associated with the historical Kamata Kingdom of the 7th century CE. It is said that this was the very capital of the kingdom then.

There is also a speculation that the ruins date back to the Gupta period of the 5th century CE. During the British era, the Bania Ruins earned the name ‘Mendabari Ruins’ owing to its location in a place called Mendabari near Kalchini village. This destination is a treat to those who are irrevocably in love with history and historical events. As you enter the through the dilapidated entrance of the fort, you will be mesmerised by the centuries-old marvel. Venturing into the interiors is not recommended; the fort covers almost half a mile and is clad in thick vegetation. To get into the interiors, a tourist might need to bend and crawl because the entrance is almost buried deep in the earth. It is said that there are brick aqueducts inside that date back to the 5th century. In addition, remains of a stone temple of 10th or 12th century BC, and the hints of Muslim architecture can be observed nearby. Beware of poisonous snakes and ticks in the area.

Other than that, you might also encounter elephants on your way. The area is famous for the Ram Guna Tree which is also known as ‘the tree that bleeds.’ Interestingly, this tree grows particularly in this area. It has been named so, because when cut, the tree oozes a red latex-like substance. According to the locals, these trees guard the fort and are actually the loyal guards who stayed back to save the construction, and in the course of time, got transformed into trees. Apart from this historical jaunt, you can also go for angling and boating in the River Bania. The banks also display a rich diversity of wildlife, including elephants, boars, rhinos, and leopards.

How To Reach The Bania Ruins?

The Chilapata forest is 20 km from Alipurduar town and 95 km from Jalpaiguri. There are easy communications to the nearby bustling town of Siliguri. Your journey will begin at the Siliguri Bus Bay, NJP Railway Station, or Bagdogra airport. Ask your tour operator to arrange for your travel to the Bania Ruins.

When Is The Best Time To Visit The Bania Ruins?

The ruins are located deep in the forests of Chilapata. They can be visited at any time of the year. However, it is recommended that you avoid the monsoons, lest the rain causes displeasure and inconvenience.

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